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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Kareem wins a record 6th NBA MVP award
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 29, 1980

Just a year ago Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was being criticized by a former Lakers center. From his Bel-Air, Calif. home, Wilt Chamberlain watched Los Angeles opponents drive the lane and publicly blamed Abdul-Jabbar for it. The lane, Wilt said, was Abdul-Jabbar's office and Kareem was letting the infidels set up a tent in there and hold picnics.

Abdul-Jabbar didn't like that interpretation. Today, the 33-year-old center concedes there might have been a spark in his game that wasn't there last season. He was a happier basketball player. And a better one.

In helping the Lakers to a 60-22 record, he led the league in blocked shots (3.41 a game), was second in field-goal percentage (.604), sixth in scoring (24.8) and eighth in rebounding (10.8).

Today, for the sixth time (three with L.A. after three with Milwaukee) in his 11-year career, Abdul-Jabbar is voted MVP. Receiving 147 of the 221 votes cast by league players and easily outdistancing Philadelphia's Julius Erving, he breaks his tie with Bill Russell at five MVPs.

"I never played against Bill," Abdul-Jabbar says. "When he played, it was a different league; it was smaller. It was another era. I don't compare myself to him. He was the best of his time. Maybe someone would say I'm the best in mine. That's all you could say."

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